Sunday, August 31, 2008

Music, Cake & SEX!!! ~ Perry Hoffman

I first learned about Perry Hoffman while cruising through the blogosphere looking for art blogs. I was impressed by his mosaic tile work and his use of color and pattern. I have since learned more about him, not only is he an amazing mosaic artist but a photographer and painter as well, combining his photographs and painting in beautiful montages. His blog is called MagentaRaves and you can get a sense of who he is, Perry Hoffman is Magenta Raven! You can also check out (and purchase) some of his photography here at his Zazzle page. He splits his time between his home in Santa Barbara and his retreat in Wonder Valley near Joshua Tree. In fact he has self-published a book called "8 Years in Wonder Valley", follow the link to take a look. Perry is also involved in mail art, you can learn about that at RavenMailArt and get involved in mail art yourself!
Why clay? Hmmmm. Ever since High School I have returned to clay over and over through the years. Always enjoyed the tactile experience of clay and the possiblilty of ending up with a 3d form. In the last ten years of doing mosaics, I have magically returned to clay again, and this time making elements that end up in the mosaic, so it's like recycling every bit of work you do. If it's not the best ceramic piece it can be smashed and live on in a mosaic. If it's worthy on it's own, it can live on, of course until somebody accidentally breaks it and then it too becomes a mosaic element. I have learned a lot from a teacher/friend, Elizabeth Raybee who is an amazing mosaic artist in Northern California. I noticed that she was introducing clay work into her pieces, it's a very intriguing concept really. Anyway one thing led to another and my work started to change using elements from the kiln, handmade tiles and tiles that weren't square or regular. I have been making clay rattles and buddha faces from molds I have made. Recently I've been creating erotic rattles, shows you what effects being married might have :-) Clay is sensual to the touch and I find the less I do to the clay the better. It's already holding it's own. Of course it's always a thrill to see the final work emerge, glazed and complete.
What gets you in the mood? Frustration, war, bad vibrations always stimulate me and these days there is a never ending supply of inspiration to make something beautiful to put into the world. I enjoy unleashing my creative energies to produce something that might transform another person's view of it all. The world can be such a SQUARE place that it drives me almost mad and that is what gets me in the mood to work clay and shape shift something... anything.

Do you listen to music when you work? Often, music is really key in elevating the moment's vibration and I am a firm beleiver that it helps me create better work. Real artists and singers like Joni Mitchell and kd lang will always supply me with sufficient pranah (life force energy) to sustain me while I work, but also Abba and pure disco Kylie Minogue will do the trick as well, anything that elevates. What motivates and inspires you? Music, cake, sex, nature and color... only reverse the order thank you... Oh and being grateful.
Who are your favorite artists and why? Joni Mitchell, David Bowie, Chagall, Pablo, Shari Elf, Federico Fellini, Yoko, John, Hockney, David La Chappell, Imogen Cunningham, Simon Rodia, because they push the envelope, use color and sound in a striking way.
What’s your favorite cuss word? Fuck, BUT really it's the taboo one that you can't ever say, that's my secret favorite! :-)
What is your favorite pleasure? music, cake and sex
What would you say to someone just getting started in ceramics who asks you for advice? Do less to the clay. Let the clay talk to YOU. Shape it and then leave it alone... ALMOST
What is your feeling on the artist as activist, Artivism? and the “handmade” movement? Not familiar with the handmade movement but art mixed in with politics and environmental causes is both excellent and a bit nauseating because there is a double thing going on, not always clear.... it is also true that buying some art and having some of the money go to a good cause, feels right and feels connected. Ahhh conundrums.
What is it about tile and mosaics that draws you to it? Love breaking things, I do it naturally all the time. Ask my husband. He wondered if there would be anything left of his treasures after we first started living together. I break stuff. But sincerely, for me it's always been a great lesson in letting go and quite frankly, material things are not where it's at, which clay will always teach you... don't be too attached.
What’s your favorite quote? "Get the girl to do it" !!! , Perry Hoffman

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Breaking Smashing And Creating

Mosaic Artist Perry Hoffman has scheduled two workshops, one in Santa Barbara September 27 & 28 and the other in Wonder Valley (thats out in the desert near Joshua Tree) on October 4 & 5. If you are interested give Perry a call or email him, all info in the image above.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Latino Ceramists At The Folk Tree

There is a great shop and gallery in Pasadena called the Folk Tree . The Folk Tree specializes in latin folk art, lots of Day of the Dead items etc, if you go there make sure you have plenty of time! The store is filled to capacity with incredible stuff. In the back they have a gallery. The current show int he gallery is celebrating local Latino Ceramists.
Tomas Owen, Ricky Maldonado, Angel Lopez, Dora De Lario and newcomber Alejandra Hernandes (I hope to have an interview with her) are some of the artists represented, and whose work is pictured here. I wasnt able to get shots of all the artists and thier work because of the size of the crowd but if you are in Los Angeles stop in to the Folk tree and check it out. The show runs through September 20th.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Clay for Petrol Coalition and the Salon du Vineyard Present...

Come discuss Greg Vineyard's latest conceptual ceramic ideas, learn how to build your own "meditation station" from a la carte items, and browse the entire inventory of meditation/keepsake bowls, meditots, meditation buttons, toasting vessels, zen-arrangers and other assorted items ~ All on sale!
Saturday 9/13/08 10:00 am until 6:00 pm
Sunday 9/14/08 noon until 6:00 pm
4433 1/2 Bakman Ave, Studio City, CA 91602
1 street east if Tujunga, 4 houses north of Moorpark (Sushi 101 on the corner)
While some of Greg's proceeds are going directly in the moving van gas tank, in keeping with his traditon he will be donating a portion of the proceeds of his sale to the Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF), an organization that assists artists and craft persons with thier recovery from crises. Follow the link for more info on what you can do! CraftEmergency.Org

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Your Name Here!

If you would like to be a featured artist here on So Cal Potters send me an email with links to your work and some info about you! Follow the link in the right hand column and send me your info today!
Or leave a comment below. Hope to hear from you soon!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Poise & Grace While Hurling ~ Greg Vineyard

Greg Vineyard is a friend of mine and also a member at the Xiem Clay Center in Pasadena California. I just learned this past week that he has decided to make a big change in his life and soon will be moving to Asheville North Carolina. Greg is one of my favorite people at the studio and I will miss him, but I am happy for him on the eve of his new adventure. Please follow the link to visit his website, Vineyard Creative. Greg is a conceptual/random association artist working mostly in clay to convey personal, communication/relationship, societal and political concepts, and promotes the idea that any item special to an individual can serve as a conduit for meditation, reflection and blue-sky thinking on the journey toward balance, peace, light, love and spiritual centeredness. Additional pursuits include tile design, illustration and mixed-media assemblage.
Why Clay?
Having concentrated in graphic design and art direction, and with my personal artwork hardly ever leaving the 2-dimensional realm, a medium like clay was the furthest thing from my mind! In 1999, I took a trip to Catalina Island and as I was looking at the tiles it hit me that my linear style of drawing and art direction sketching might look great on tiles -- and when I got home there was a catalog for Glendale College in the mailbox, and classes were starting in two weeks and I miraculously got in on the waiting list. As you all know, Glendale is one of the best places to learn ceramics, and I was pretty instantly addicted.
If not clay, what?
Illustration in all media, collage and assemblage, design.
What get's you in the mood, what inspires you? Both solitary and communal activities inspire me - being alone in nature, enjoying favorite music (70's, 80's) and "listening" to the planet really center me, but I also enjoy adventures with friends, and a day in the studio with lots of people coming and going, with all sorts of interesting work in progress and finished work on the shelves, and people sharing ideas and discussing glazes, etc. I also enjoy that in-between sortof state, carving tiles at home while watching tv or a movie, where I'm alone but with "noise". I'm also learning to trust those times where I just don't feel like creating anything - a friend recently reminded me that those down times aren't "nothing", they have value, too.

Who is your favorite artist and why?My high school art teacher, Pat Abbott, an amazing potter and watercolorist and all-around artist. She fueled her students' creativity like a rocket booster, and always told us to go do and be what we wanted. I also really like Joseph Cornell, Marcel DuChamp, Modigliani amongst many others, as well as any conceptual artist using any medium.
What is your favorite cussword? Don't know if I have a favorite, but with this question in mind I observed myself closely this past week, and as things flew off the wheel during trimming the word that came up the most has an "S" and a "T" in it - and I don't mean "soldate"! But I actually try not to swear in public.
What is your favorite pleasure? I'm lucky in that it could be anything! Moments that stand out in my mind: Reading Tarzan novels during summer break as a kid; Sitting at home carving one of my first tiles for class at Glendale College - favorite music on shuffle, light breeze coming in off the patio, watching my design come to fruition before my eyes!; Having my first Reese's Peanut Butter Cup after being off sugar for one year; Looking at art in person that I had only previously seen in art history classes and being amazed at the actual sizes of things; Trimming and getting a bowl pushed out-of-round just right without destroying it (see the "flew off the wheel" comment above); I never know what the next "favorite moment" will be, but I trust they'll keep happening as long as I show up.
In your work you talk a lot about meditation and reflection, can you explain your thoughts on how your creations can be used in that process? I believe we can use focal points in our lives in order to find balance, stay grounded, be inspired. My work is both colorful and tactile -- whether through glaze surface or actual ridges and bumps or being out-of-round -- and I think this can provide an opportunity for people to connect with the pieces and perhaps assign them significant uses. One person might hold a bowl while another might prefer to look at it on a shelf. Another might prefer to have oatmeal and blueberries in it, and yet another might put it on his or her desk in the office and fill it with paperclips. An item small enough for a pocket can be used as a reminder to remember something, do something, not fear something anymore, or perform a kind act. A special bowl for change might be a reminder to save more. A carved tile might be soothing to touch during a rough day at the office. Still others might have these same experiences with non-handmade objects. I do all of the above. Handmade or not, an item I like has much greater potential to be part of my positive daily actions and thoughts as I move forward and grow in life. People have used my bowls specifically for meditation exercises, such as each person placing an intention in a bowl during group exercises, others have used them for candles, and another woman I know takes them to church to her prayer circle and each person chooses a bowl to hold during the process. I think the possibilities are endless.
I also feel that my conceptual work can be used for connectivity. For example, a pair of animal figurines with various word tiles relating to concepts of communication, relationships, spirituality, psychological issues and social politics provides a conduit for thought and discussion, an outlet to work out communication scenarios, and an ever-changing example of how each person interacts with a concept differently. A bowl holding its own trimming shards says something to me about holding onto the stuff that we have been trying to shed. A tray with tiles that only say "Yes" is a positive statement about anything the viewer wants it to be. Arranging figurines on a tile is zen-like for me, and I get a momentary sense of being in-the-moment. Giving a ceramic item to a friend also has its merits as a connecting force in the universe as we all move towards good.
What would you say to someone just getting started in ceramics who asks you for advice? Three things: 1) Don't Wait. If you have an interest in ceramics or any other art form (or anything for that matter), go ahead and sign up somewhere - there's a huge boost to the self-esteem to actually be DOING vs wishing, and you don't actually have to set up your own studio to get started; 2) Do Your Own Thing. Learning about clay's properties, physics, limits and how to create functional work is vital to the learning process, but beyond that don't get too attached to feedback about your ideas and creative expression; 3) Unpredictability Is A Gift. Just like life, not every ceramic piece goes according to plan, but the item you don't care for might be someone else's favorite. Or it might be good as shards for mosaics.

OK, four more things: Share space, clean up after yourself, don't be afraid to ask questions and respect the kiln operator. :-)

Thank you Greg, Good luck in the produce isles in Asheville!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Diversity In Clay At AMOCA

I went to the opening of the American Ceramic Society, Southern California Design Chapter's latest show "Diversity In Clay", hosted by the American Museum of Ceramic Art located in Pomona California. AMOCA is a wonderful place, if you are ever in the area be sure to stop in. Also visit thier website and become a member, funds raised help the museum's programs. Here are some images from this evening, sorry the place was too packed to get all the names of the pieces I took pictures of, enjoy! Click any image to enlarge.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Out Of The Fire ~ Melanie Knox

A good friend was on vacation last month and while traveling around Northern California bought a piece of pottery. Upon his return he told me about it so I decided to look the artist up. Melanie Knox of Knox Studio Ceramics is that artist. Melanie specializes in wood fired pottery and draws inspiration from the Japanese Ceramic tradition.
Why clay? When I was in 10th grade Art class we had to do alot of drawing. I was not that good at it (I was pretty bad actually) and my teacher suggested I try making something out of clay. I remember I made a small sculpture of a female figure. Right there on the wooden floor of my school room, I fell in love with clay.
What gets you in the mood, what inspires you? What gets me in the mood and what inspires me are two different things... Getting up in the morning and walking the 50 feet to my studio in my pajamas (or not..I am surrounded by forest) is priceless. As far as forms go,I am inspired by shapes of containers, especially old metal containers; buckets. oil cans, wheel barrows as well as pot bellied stoves. I also enjoy looking at tanks, submarines and big ships. My favorite pottery that I never get sick of looking at is ancient Japanese Shino and Oribe wares.
Do you listen to music when you work? When I remember to turn on the stereo, yes. Usually when I throw. Definitely not when I am making glazes as I need to pay attention. I like to listen to Prince when I am stacking wood.
As a novice what was it that first caught your attention about wood firing? Ha! This answer is kind of like the "Why Clay" question. At Art school the gas and electric kilns were in constant use. It seemed like we had to wait forever for a kiln to become available and when it did we had to share the shelf space with other students. There were two wood kilns, an Anagama Kiln and a Bourry Box Kiln that were rarely used;even the wood was there! My friend and I thought, "what the heck?". We were so excited about the results, the flashing on the clay, the depth of the glazes...I used only those wood kilns the next 2 years of Art school. Another love story.
I have yet to experience a wood firing but it seems, from what I have heard to be a very social thing, do you feel the camaraderie of the firing process affects the outcome? This question makes me think of booze! My experience of too much camaraderie is drunk people tossing in wood and knocking down kiln shelves. Not so great. However much I enjoy champagne, I tend to not drink while firing. My favorite number of helpers is 3. Having a bunch of people at the opening is really great, especially with first time students. I like to watch people experience the oohs and ahhhhs as the door is being unbricked.
Do you go into the studio with something all planned out, or do you simply pick up some clay and let it happen, let the universe take over as it were? I have an idea for the day, like I am going to make bowls or something but that's about as far as it goes. If the forms just don't seem to be happening, I'll make something else. Occasionally I will make a coil pot or smack some slabs on the floor to get into a meditative mode.
Who is your favorite artist and why? I think Takeshi Yasuda is fabulous. Yasuda is a Japanese potter who has been living in the UK since the 1970's. The softness of his pots represent the plastic nature of the clay. Yasuda is also a great example of a potter getting beautiful results with Oxidized and synthetic ash glazes.
What’s your favorite cuss word? Believe it or not, I am trying not to cuss so much, my friend recently said to me, "You are so pretty, the swearing just isn't". So, I try to refrain from the "F" now.
What is your favorite pleasure? Looking for things I can melt into a glaze, watching Little House on the Prairie and dancing at nightclubs (where I live, this takes place in my living room)
What would you say to someone just getting started in ceramics who asks you for advice? Don't give up, you will learn to center that lump. Be consistent. Take risks. Spend time with positive people. If you have found clay, consider yourself extremely blessed.

Thank you Melanie, and I do consider myself blessed!